Dill Pickle Hummus

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When I think of hummus, one of the few latin phrases I know comes to mind, ne plus ultra: there is nothing greater. To my palate, no other dip approaches the glory of hummus, which I’ve enjoyed for 25 years. The classic combination of garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic tastes so divine that I hesitate to justify a departure from it. I have read so many well-reviewed recipes for variations on hummus that it may be a blank canvas for all sorts of culinary adventures.

Today I tried combining hummus¬†with another of my favorite flavors, refrigerator dill pickles. I’d recommend using a pickle you love. I’ve added pickles to enough recipes to know that it’s best to use a pickle you enjoy by itself. This pickle principle is parallel to the advice of cooking only with wines you like to drink. Otherwise, the finished dish could disappoint your taste buds. I’ve put hummus on sandwiches with pickles often enough that I guessed the combo could work in dip form. It has decent tartness that doesn’t mute the umami of the tahini.

Dill Pickle Hummus

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained

2/3 cup dill pickles, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup tahini

2 T pickle brine

1 T lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh dill, torn into pieces

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with cut vegetables and crackers.

Coconut Mint Ice Cream, Dairy Free with Banana Base

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I continue to experiment with the banana-based ice cream genre so well described at That Clean Life. With summer looming, I highly recommend this technique to anyone who has a blender or food processor and can tolerate bananas. This fruit has an opposite reaction to freezing compared to grapes, whose flavor amplifies with dropping temperature. Frozen pureed bananas have a neutral flavor that fades into the other ingredients mixed with it. Its pectin and fructose can lend the muscle of sugar and fat to an ice cream, and its masquerade is convincing. Deeply frozen, it melts like a full-fat ice cream on the tongue.

In this recipe, I found a tasty purpose for my leftover mint and shredded coconut.

Coconut Mint Ice Cream, Dairy Free with Banana Base

Makes 2 servings

2 medium sliced bananas, frozen

1/3 cup fresh mint

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Put bananas, mint, and vanilla extract in blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth, scraping down sides of container periodically. Empty into freezer container and stir in coconut. Harden in the freezer for an hour, scoop into bowls, and enjoy.

PB&J Banana Ice Cream – Dairy Free

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As I’ve been breaking in my new ice cream maker, I’ve noticed that none of the dairy mixtures I’ve tired have surpassed the smooth, impossibly tiny ice crystals I’ve achieved by pulverizing frozen fruit in a blender. This evening I decided to find out what would happen if I tried to make ice cream with a banana base (a technique described well at Bowl of Delicious). Apparently, the pectin in frozen bananas lends itself to a custard-like creaminess when processed into smoothness with a blender or food processor.

No ice cream maker is needed to make this recipe. It has just three ingredients. Any frozen berries can be used in place of the raspberries if that it is not your preferred “jelly” flavor.

PB&J Banana Ice Cream –¬†Dairy Free

makes 6 1/2 cup servings

4 medium sliced bananas – frozen

1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed slightly

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided

Place bananas and raspberries in blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth, stopping and stirring several times so all of the fruit has a chance to be chopped. Add half of the peanut butter and pulse until it disappears into the fruit mixture. Empty mixture into a one quart freezer container and stir in the rest of the peanut butter, leaving ripples in the ice cream. Freeze for at least two hours to harden for serving.